Local Youths and Seniors Soar at Sodom Pond

photo by Chris Andresen
Donna Smyers (#468) from Adamant and Elizabeth McCarthy (#478) from Walden were among 30 finishers in the Sodom Pond race.

ADAMANT – The 19th Annual Sodom Pond Race attracted a field of 30 runners on September 21. Entries were split equally between runners under age 50 and runners over 50. Seven of the finishers hailed from towns covered by the Hardwick Gazette.

Ethan Parrish, a Twinfield Union High School senior, captured his first road race victory at Sodom Pond, winning in 25:16. Parrish’s Twinfield teammate, Sam Sainz, finished seventh in 32:10.

Anne Treadwell, from Burlington, won the women’s division. She placed fourth overall in 29:39.

Twinfield’s cross country coach, Cathy DuPont, placed second to Treadwell in the F50-59 age group. Her time was 34:42.

“I like to do local events where I can run with my team,” said DuPont. “The kids were excited that everyone who ran placed first or second in their age group.”

The Sodom Pond race is one of 13 events that are part of the Central Vermont Runners / Onion River Outdoors Race Series. The four-mile distance is unique, requiring athletes to pace the race strategically. CVR members accumulated race series points for their finishes at Sodom Pond.

photo by Chris Andresen
Mack Gardner-Morse of Calais placed second in the Sodom Pond 4-miler. Gardner-Morse finished the hilly course in 28:41.

Mack Gardener-Morse, 61, is from Calais. His strong finish at Sodom Pond helped him clinch first place for the M60-69 age group in the CVR/ORO Race Series.

Gardner-Morse placed second overall behind Parrish, who is 44 years younger. The veteran runner completed the course in 28 minutes and 41 seconds, just eight seconds slower than his finish in 2021.

“It was a nice cool evening for a run,” said Gardner-Morse. “I did well for the first two miles. I was not able to keep the momentum for mile three. I tried to pick it up a little for the final mile, but I was feeling it in my legs.”

Donna Smyers, 65, lives and works in Adamant. Her time of 32:48 was 14 seconds faster than last year. Smyers won the F60-69 age group at Sodom Pond and clinched her age group title for the CVR / ORO Race Series.

Elizabeth McCarthy, 69, from Walden, finished in 37:56. Her time was 71 seconds faster than last year. Twinfield cross country runners Gigi Guerin and Hanna Hoelzl rounded out the local finishers. Their respective times were 40:23 and 47:50.

photo by Chris Andresen
Twinfield Union High School senior Ethan Parrish won his first road race on September 21 at Sodom Pond. Parrish blitzed the four-mile course in 25:16.

Local Runners Tackle Five-Mountain Challenge

EAST CHARLESTON – Saturday’s fifth annual Westmore Challenge drew hikers and runners to the scenic Lake Willoughby region. The wilderness trek helped to raise funds for the NorthWoods Stewardship Center’s trail network and conservation programs.

“We had a chilly start but beautiful warm sunshine the rest of the day,” said Kelsey Evans, who helped coordinate the event for the NorthWoods Stewardship Center.

Seventy-four people completed the full 26-mile marathon. Other participants went as far as they could before exiting on a trailhead and hopping a shuttle back to the Stewardship Center.

Kenyon Fatt was the fastest finisher, in 4:33:17. Ethan Niederer earned runner-up honors in 4:48:35. Karen Benway and Susan Dodge were the top female finishers. They came across the line together, in 6:05:58.

Hardwick ultramarathoner Ira O’Meara-Costello placed third overall, in 5:08:29. He entered the marathon at the last minute when a friend who had registered was unable to participate.

“The first part of the course is beautiful trails along Moose Mountain and Mt. Hor, passing through gorgeous open deciduous forests,” said O’Meara-Costello. “It’s hard to not push the pace early on because the terrain is just plain fun. Then you get down to Route 5 and realize there’s still 20 miles to go.”

“I was skirting the entrance to the pain cave around Haystack Mountain, only halfway through the run, and entered it completely on the road between Haystack and Bald Mountain. I had a meatball sub from the Craftsbury General Store that I forced myself to eat while going up Bald Mountain, much to the interest of passing dogs. Luckily the calories worked their magic, my cramps subsided, and I powered through, feeling pretty good at the finish.”

Other local finishers included Brian Morrissey (6:47:39) from East Hardwick; Ryan Bjerke (7:19:48) from Wolcott; Russell Desjardins (9:05:48), Scott Desjardins (11:09:09), and Audrey Desjardins (11:09:09) from Stannard.

NEK Marathon and Half Marathon Draw Local Runners

ISLAND POND – The Second Annual Northeast Kingdom Marathon and Half Marathon drew a diverse field of runners to the former railroad community. Forty-four marathoners and 63 half marathoners enjoyed beautiful weather as they completed one or two loops of the scenic course around Island Pond.

Sponsored by the Brighton Recreation Department, the September 17 race offered professional timing and basic race support. Participating runners were asked to use their waived entry fee dollars to generously support local businesses and community fundraisers.

Scott Machinist, from Island Pond, won the half marathon in 1:24:05. East Hardwick’s Matthew Millard was the runner-up, finishing in 1:26:13.

Sierra Cooper, from Newport Center, topped the women’s division in 1:45:22. Marshfield’s Amanda Michaud placed third, crossing the line in 1:46:04. Michaud moved up from last year’s seventh-place effort in the women’s division.

Other local finishers in the half marathon included Ben Drinkwine (1:58:51, Marshfield); Cody Hopkins (1:59:23, Hardwick); Noreen Hopkins (2:04:15, Hardwick), Breanna Hart (2:19:02, Wolcott); and Deirdre Martin-Baker (2:38:38, Wolcott).

The concurrent NEK Marathon attracted runners from 15 different states. Daniel Farrar, from Stonington, Conn., led the way in three hours, four minutes, and 19 seconds. Alexis Reese, from Bethel, was the first female finisher in 3:31:39.

Leaf Peepers Half Marathon and 5k

WATERBURY – The 38th running of the Leaf Peepers Half Marathon and 5k is on tap for Sunday, Oct. 2. The half marathon begins at 9 a.m., followed by the 5k race 15 minutes later. The 5k race begins on pavement, transitions to a dirt road, and ends with a grassy trail. The half marathon course has the same beginning and ending as the 5k race. The middle of the race includes a rolling out-and-back dirt road section along the Winooski River. Race registration details are available at www.cvrunners.org.